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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Schopenhauer was right

The most fundamental impulse is the sexual impulse, and if anyone doubts this I direct them to the case of Antonio Navarro*, arrested for driving his motorized bed “at a considerable velocity” on a highway in Galicia. This 42 year-old man, who is tetraplegic, told police after being arrested that he was on his way to a brothel. With his body 95% paralyzed, the only way he can operate the bed is by moving a joystick with his mouth. You can only imagine the bizarre spectacle of this guy cruising down a highway on a motorized bed, and, furthermore, what he planned on doing once he got to the brothel.

Anyway, I remembered this story when I re-read this passage from the great Arthur Schopenhauer:

The sexual impulse is proved to be the decided and strongest affirmation of life by the fact that for man in the natural state, as for the animal, it is his life’s final end and the highest goal. Self preservation and maintenance are his first aim, and as soon as he has provided for that, he aims only at the propagation of the race; as a merely natural being, he cannot aspire to anything more. Nature too, the inner being of which is the will-to-live itself, with all her force impels both man and the animal to propagate. After this she has attained her end with the individual, and is quite indifferent to its destruction; for, as the will-to-live, she is concerned only with the preservation of the species; the individual is nothing to her.

From the World as will and Representation, book I

In all seriousness I think Antonio Navarro is the apotheosis of mankind’s most fundamental impulse – the will to propagate. Antonio doesn’t dress up his intentions in pretty euphemisms or claims to a “higher calling”. In the end, you have to admire his tenacity and sincerity. Respect.

_

* For some reason the author of the article cites that Antonio was a gypsy (“This resident of the CAMF [a residency for handicapped people], originally from Valencia and of the gypsy ethnicity”). This is about as relevant to the article as saying that his blanket was made of 100% cotton. Of course, the article is implying that only someone of the dastardly “gypsy ethnicity” would drive a motorized bed to a brothel. I should direct the author of this article to the three block radius around my apartment in the Eixample, in which she will find at least three popular brothels. The Eixample is a middle class Catalan neighborhood and I can tell you the clientele drifting in and out of the brothels look more like "white", upper-middle class lawyer types than people of the “gypsy ethnicity”. You certainly don’t see dudes driving motorized beds to brothels around here, and, even if you did, those motorized beds wouldn't necessarily be owned and operated by someone of the “gypsy ethnicity”. I mean, who are we kidding? I’m amazed, sometimes, at the total lack of rigor in reporting.

(the picture is really Antonio, by the way. It was taken from this article in L'Absurd Diari. More information can be found here.)